Sam is an assistant with the Young Readers Sales team. He loves to sing, dance, yell, and eat in groups. His favorite things are funny people, smart books, and like-you-mean-it hugs. He reads almost anything if it can rein his attention in. He thinks the best part about reading comes after the last page, when you can talk about it with others and make a little more sense of the art, and maybe a piece of their own lives in light of it. He is moving to Texas! He loves adventure, and hopes to live a life full of movement.


Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert wrote this book for herself. Not for you or for me; just herself, an therein lies this book’s greatest lesson: there is great value in your own joy. She includes that she is glad for anyone that finds BIG MAGIC to be helpful or enlightening, but really, writing about fear and its governance over creative freedom was an idea of her own that she wanted to nurture and expand, as if it were a real living thing sought her care. Ideas are more than flits of inspiration to Gilbert; they’re alive.

Whether you buy that or not, Gilbert’s knack for good writing is reason enough to spend some time with this book. Without patronization, she explains that we too can live a creative life if only we would put an end to the enabling fictions we create in order to avoid the massive, abundantly rewarding responsibility of, well, creating.



So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson

I picked this book up and immediately thought of Disney Villains. Imagine, if you will, Jafar or Cruella DeVil flipping through these pages now that they’ve been thwarted and shamed in their respective worlds. The genius of the book however, lies not within its potential as a satirical prop in a Disney spin-off. Because rather than center on people who have committed “villainous” acts (see: Justine Sacco’s tweet on AIDS, or Jonah Lehrer’s fabrication of quotes in a major publication), the book is really about everyone else: the Tweeters, the Facebookers, the commenters, and perhaps literal mudslingers who can safely jab the perpetrator from an anonymous sea of onlookers. We’re happy to join the avalanche of shame-throwing because, in an avalanche, no one snowflake carries the blame for the amount of damage the group ultimately causes.

In any case, there isn’t a benign moment in this book, and the last line is the best line – the hook-in-cheek phrase that drags our attention through our protective bubbles and toward the places we don’t want to look: the margins where the results of our actions tend to rot. Once you’ve finished this, you won’t regard mistakes – your own or others’ – the same way again.

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The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson

This was probably not written with the intent of improving its readers. However, I make the case that it does, simply for the amount of self-reflection I experienced from the first chapter onward. What makes Jon Ronson a great journalist and author is that his curiosity begets curiosity. Questions multiply and his focus, which at first is centered on subjects he suspects are real-life psychopaths, turns inward. Is he a psychopath? How many characteristics in the very real “Psychopath Test” can he have before someone can deem him too dangerous to live in normal society? This will no doubt force you to ask the same questions of yourself (and of everyone else in your life). As I read, I was dazed by how much attention I paid to my own mind. Things I didn’t know I possessed intrigued me, as did a whole branch of psychiatric research I gave little thought to before.

Ronson deserves credit for his strong writing and exceptional research, but his crowning achievement is instilling in his readers a curiosity they didn’t know they had.



The ADHD Advantage by Dale Archer, MD

Fear not, my unfocused friends, my shiny-loving brothers, my leaf-chasing sisters. You are not lost; you are not damaged; you are not hopeless. You’re just a different kind of fantastic from our linear minded comrades. Dale Archer, MD, uses his own life, and the lives of other hugely successful and happy “ADHD-ers” to delineate the fact that a wandering, hyperactive mind is more of an asset than we’ve been lead to believe.

When we were hyper, or when we stopped listening, or when we tore all over the house, we were usually punished, and therefore told over a long period of time that we were bad. What Archer points out is that punishment and medication are not the best ways of dealing with students (and adults) who can’t sit still. Instead, we should consider how to leverage someone’s strengths first and foremost before turning to drugs, which should really be a last resort. The success stories that he includes throughout the book are proof enough that those with ADHD can help turn the world in ways that others simply cannot. What is connoted as a burden, might actually be a gift.

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Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards

I found this book (the 4th edition!) to be less of a book on how to draw, and more of a guide in perception. Edwards explains that in order to draw, we must tap into the non-verbal, non-linear, and non-logical side of our brains. To achieve this, she instructs the reader to perform various exercises – projects that require one to carve out an hour of uninterrupted time with no distractions. In a sense – she wants us to meditate. In order to speak in a language of only pictures, we have to melt away from our need to define what we see and simply see what we see. Drawing is less of an act of imitation, and more an act of perceiving. This opens an enormous space for noticing, and appreciating, how intricate each and every object is.

More than anything, this book gave me a reason to draw again – something I hadn’t done since I was a kid. After doing just one of the projects Edwards requires before moving on to later chapters, I felt physically lighter and more interested in my own atmosphere – the things that inhabit our lives are more complex than we give them credit for. What better way to pay tribute to your gift of sight than to draw what you see? What’s better, there is no rush or pressure to draw perfectly. Your drawing is yours, and nothing will be created exactly like it.

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picture - Julie KocsisJulie Kocsis is a Production Coordinator at Berkley. She loves reading biographies and memoirs, quoting Seinfeld, complaining about the MTA, and watching documentaries (the good kind, not the dull kind they forced you to watch in high school social studies classes). She lives in a fairly un-trendy area of Brooklyn, but enjoys visiting the trendy parts from time to time to eat ramen, dance to ‘90s pop music, wander aimlessly in comfortable shoes, and people watch.


Paddle Your Own Canoe- One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living, by Nick Offerman

Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living, by Nick Offerman

“This isn’t a self-improvement book,” you say? “This is just a collection of essays some clown wrote!” Well, technically you’re correct. However, this book is actually chock-full of life advice. Author Nick Offerman (the actor who played Ron Swanson on Parks & Rec) takes readers through his childhood in rural Illinois, his experiences as a theater actor in both Chicago and LA, and how he met his wife (Megan Mullally). Interspersed throughout these biographical parts are bits of life advice, my favorite being, “Choose your favorite spade and dig a small, deep hole located deep in the forest or a desolate area of the desert or tundra. Bury your cell phone and then find a hobby.” One of Offerman’s personal favorite hobbies is woodworking, particularly canoe-hulling (hence the name of the book). Overall, this is a very funny and enjoyable book that could help you lead a more fulfilling life.

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A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, by Alexandra Petri

A Field Guide to Awkward Silences, by Alexandra Petri

Perhaps you’re looking for some self-help to answer the question “How can I get more out of life? I’m bored.” In this case, I would recommend reading A Field Guide to Awkward Silences by Alexandra Petri. The biggest take-away I got from this book is that Petri simply goes for it in life. This 20-something has attended and participated in conventions of all types – whistling, pun-making, and Star Wars (“As a general rule, I advise against trying to pick up men at Star Wars conventions”). Additionally, she was on Jeopardy!, was accidentally baptized into a cult, has auditioned for America’s Next Top Model, and has personally been called “bitchy” by Rush Limbaugh on-air (“If I were president [As if we’d ever elect a lady world president!] I’d ditch certain words. I’d retire them to a farm upstate… Take slut. Take bitch. Please.”). This book is hilarious, entertaining, and full of personal stories that will inspire you to say “yes” to doing more in life so that you’ll never feel unfulfilled or bored again!

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Lizz Free or Die, by Lizz Winstead

Lizz Free or Die, by Lizz Winstead

Although I’ve only ever been a casual watcher of The Daily Show, I’ve always been particularly interested in hearing from women who work in comedy, which is what drew me to read this collection of essays by the show’s creator Lizz Winstead. The book provides a good number of hilarious stories, particularly the ones about growing up in a Catholic household where religious items hung on every wall, (“… like the Virgin Mary on the Half Shell, or the regionally acceptable portrait of the Scandinavian-looking Jesus who could have been in an ABBA tribute band”). There are also some very emotional stories about the death of her father as well as stories about getting into stand-up comedy, moving to New York and creating The Daily Show. The best piece of advice I gathered from this book actually came from the Preface where she states, “…humor is the most useful tool to help put even the most painful moments of life into perspective.”

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Elements of Wit- Mastering the Art of Being Interesting, by Benjamin Errett

Elements of Wit: Mastering the Art of Being Interesting, by Benjamin Errett

After reading the abovementioned three books by such hilarious and witty authors, you may now be thinking, “I want to be hilarious and witty just like them! How can I go about doing that?” Though some people out there are probably a bit of a lost cause in this department (hopefully you know who you are), some people might just need a little guidance, which is where Elements of Wit comes in. This fascinating book features advice from some of the wittiest people in history – from Oscar Wilde and Shakespeare to Louis C.K. and Mae West. Though it is difficult to choose just one bit of advice from this book to share with you, I’d have to go with author Benjamin Errett’s theory on why Seinfeld’s George Costanza (an unattractive, jobless loser who lives with his parents) is able to date such beautiful women – “he’s always got something clever to say… and therein lies the real-life truth of the sitcom reality: Men with something witty to say to women are naturally going to have more of a chance at striking up a relationship.” As a female, that sounds about right to me. So to the men out there desperately trying to get the attention of women, maybe put down the iron you’ve been pumping at the gym and try your hand at saying something witty. Who knows, it worked for George!

 Start Reading an Excerpt!


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Mary Allen is a foreign rights assistant for Avery, Portfolio, and Putnam. She is originally from Nashville, TN, but she calls Greenpoint home these days. Strawberries, old books, people-watching on the subway, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and her birthday are some of her favorite parts of life.

i-know-how-she-does-it-by-laura-vanderkam 2

I Know How She Does It by Laura Vanderkam

With only 168 hours in a week, I’ve often bought in to the idea that you have to choose between a fulfilling personal life and pursuing ambitious professional goals. And even if you managed to find time for both of those, well then, it’s because you’ve surely sacrificed your social life, your hobbies, your sleep…Time management expert and breakout author Laura Vanderkam is here to counter this notion in her new book, I Know How She Does It. Drawing on research gathered from the time-logs of 1,001 days in the lives of highly-successful women, Vanderkam shows that women are indeed achieving the impossible–making time for both family and career. Vanderkam provides us with strategies for balancing the many demands of the office, the home, and the soul. If you haven’t given up on “having it all,” then this book is right up your alley.


The Plantpower Way by Rich Roll & Julie Piatt

This is a cookbook in a league of its own. Equal parts recipe book, roadmap to a health,  manifesto of the plant-based lifestyle, The Plantpower Way testifies to the fact that you can raise a family, run an ultramarathon, eat like a king, and help save both the planet and your health using nothing but plants. As a Tennessee-born loyal barbecue-eater of 24 years, I had my doubts about the merits of a vegan plate, but within 20 pages, authors Rich Roll and Julie Piatt had me convinced. And after I tasted their Potato-Quinoa Wraps with Brazil Nut Cream, they had me converted. The recipes are simple, delicious and probably the surest way to live to the glorious age of 100. This is a vegan cookbook with a joyful cause, and it deserves space in every kitchen.

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The Anxiety Toolkit by Alice Boyes, Ph.D

In our ever-accelerating 21st century, anxiety has become as ubiquitous as smartphones and iced chai. If your morning commute, your news headlines, and your email inbox look anything like mine, then this book is your new saving grace. Dr. Alice Boyes masterfully distills her years of clinical practice and research into this tidy handbook to manage and master anxiety. As each chapter opens with a self-assessment quiz, Boyes helps us identify the nature of our anxiety and the mechanism by which it undercuts our lives. She then provides insightful, actionable strategies to conquer it. True to its name, The Anxiety Toolkit is a practical and powerful tool for anyone trying to break free of his or her modern angst.

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The 22-Day Revolution by Marco Borges

Beyoncé, in her infinite wisdom, has really put this book on the map, but The 22-Day Revolution by trainer and health expert Marco Borges was destined to start a movement with or without buzz from the Queen Bey. In this book, Borges shares the vegan, plant-based lifestyle program that has been keeping his clients (celebrity and plebeian alike) in the best health of their lives. For anyone looking to lose weight, reverse disease, or even to reduce their carbon footprint—in short, for anyone seeking permanent change—this is the ultimate handbook. It takes 21 days to break a bad habit, so Borges provides strategies, motivation, and delicious recipes to usher readers through to the 22nd day and into a happier state of body and mind—the inevitable benefits plant-based living.

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Penguin Online photo Yafa

Anyone who’s seen Jennifer Lawrence or Charlize Theron on screen knows that both of the Oscar winners for Best Actress are the real thing. It’s not surprising, at least to me, that they have no patience for phony celebs or “pretend” foods. Theron won’t go near anything gluten-free: “It tastes like cardboard!” she exclaimed in a talk-show appearance. Lawrence told Vanity Fair that gluten-free diets are “the new, cool eating disorder.”

Real foods, to both women, do not perform bait-and-switch tricks like substituting tapioca for whole wheat flour in baked goods. Real foods contain whole grains that may or may not be fashionable at the moment, but still deliver proven value.  I’m reminded that our palate and digestive system subscribe to no dietary trends, and never have.  Our bodies dwell in a microbial universe where nutritive usefulness trumps the latest fad; muscles and ligaments along with the liver and every other internal organ thrive on minerals and vitamins, healthful bacteria, fiber and phytochemicals. They’re sublimely oblivious to pop culture’s demands for the newest, coolest, latest diet.

As the author of Grain of Truth—The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten I set out to discover for myself, as an investigative journalist, just how seriously I should take the campaign against gluten. Was this protein complex found in wheat, barley and rye, as William Davis claims in Wheat Belly, so injurious to our well-being that it has killed more people than all wars combined? Or were we yet again being subjected to unsubstantiated hyperbole—this time delivered by medical professionals, among others?

The gluten-free craze arrived in a thundercloud of hyperbole, like Moses delivering the Ten Commandments and warning if you fail to honor them, well, we’ll see you in hell. That’s the emotional foundation of screeds like Wheat Belly and Grain Brain. Like scripture, they are unconditional—they don’t deal with shades of gray, so we don’t have to, either. It’s all fire and brimstone. Eat wheat and grow fat, while you rot your brain. Other diet fads—Zone, South Beach, Atkins, generally call for more protein and fewer carbs, and more thought.  Gluten-free is a one-stop one-shop silver bullet.

Reliable clinical studies indicate that only .63 to 6 percent of us suffer from definable symptoms of non-celiac gluten sensitivity, and 1 in 133 from celiac disease. The vast majority of men and women who think they’re reacting to gluten— about 30 percent of the general population—fall into neither category.

A recent study at the University of Florida set out to probe people’s misconceptions about gluten. It followed 97 participants who tasted two food choices, one labeled “gluten-free” and one labeled “gluten.” The majority decided the non-gluten food was healthier, even though neither food actually contained gluten. As many as 32 percent of the study subjects thought eating gluten-free would bring about weight loss. Not true. It’s the elimination of junk food, the researchers point out, that makes all the difference.

grain-of-truth-by-stephen-yafa 2I discovered too that long fermentation, as in sourdough, is nature’s way of reducing the toxicity of gluten molecules while increasing its nutritive value and edible enjoyment. A surprise to me, and proof again that the best part of authoring a book is to learn what you didn’t know when you began.


Read more about Grain of Truth—The Real Case For and Against Wheat and Gluten by Stepehn Yafa!



Ally Bruschi is a publicity assistant at Avery who has a “To Read” list that is 73 books long and counting. She loves to read anything she can get a hold of – cookbooks, political tomes, funny memoirs, and shampoo bottles alike.  She lives in Brooklyn.





Food Rules by Michael Pollan

The only person who I would trust to tell me what to eat is Michael Pollan, because he’s not really telling you what to eat, but how to eat – consciously and simply, to put it briefly. This handy guidebook offers 64 (often pretty funny) guidelines to making your daily diet a little healthier drawn from advice from doctors, scientists  and nutritionists that Pollan has come into contact with over the years.  It’s simple, it’s small enough to fit anywhere, and it gets to the point.  Two of my favorites: “#19: If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don’t,” and “#39: Eat all the junk food you want, as long as you cook it yourself.”




What Katie Ate by Katie Quinn Davies

At Avery we publish many beautiful cookbooks, but this one has been my favorite from the start- it caught my eye during my first interview and I was delighted when I was allowed to take a copy home with me – I devoured the book cover to cover on my train ride home.  Katie Davies’ stunning photography and mouth-watering recipes captivate you from the second you open the book. And she photographs all of her own food for the book, too! It’s truly a work of art- but not too beautiful that you can resist propping it up next to your stove and cooking your way from start to finish.  You haven’t lived until you’ve tried her Honey-Baked Peaches – trust me.



9 ½ Narrow by Patricia Morrisroe 

I fell in love with this book by its third page, which is a rare occurrence for me.  Patricia  Morrisroe has this unique way of making her own, very personal memoir feel like an everywoman’s story of discovering her true self at every stage of life. Patricia’s hilarious, insightful anecdotes made me reflect on my own fashion mishaps, embarrassing moments, tifs with my mother, and instances of love lost and found. If you’re looking for a book to make you feel glowingly nostalgic about the trials and travails of growing up, you need to get your hands on a copy of this book – and a few more for each of your favorite women in your life.



women-in-clothes-by-sheila-hetiWomen in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, and Leanne Shapton

This is not a book about shopping or fashion or even really clothes in a literal sense. In fact, I’d say it’s more about the women than the clothes. It’s about how the things we wear and keep in our closet can transform us, make us feel  more confident, express our values, and protect us –physically and emotionally – from the sometimes harsh world around us. I’d never encountered a book quite like this before, and loved the way it pulled in conversations between women from all different demographics, levels of fame, and opinions on style. You don’t have to be a diehard fashionista to appreciate this book’s unique perspective and style, and perhaps it might even be better if you’re not one.



Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

I’m far from the first person to adore this book – Dr. Brené Brown is a bonafide celebrity in the self-improvement world. Daring Greatly teaches its readers to embrace vulnerability and uncertainty for a more meaningful, engaged life. This book inspired me to become more of a go-getter – why let yourself get mired down in the fear of failure and let great opportunities pass you by, when you could be taking active steps to becoming a happier, more self-assured person? If you’re having a bad day where you feel like the world is against you, read a chapter of this book. Or a paragraph. Or the whole thing, twice.



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Andrew Yackira Headshot

Andrew Yackira is an Editor with Tarcher/Penguin, acquiring books on health, wellness, self-help, philosophy, and works containing loads of other fun and potentially world-changing ideas. When he isn’t reading for work, he still manages to read for pleasure, is an avid commuter cyclist, a gamer, an eater-of-foods-he-didn’t-prepare—as well as some that he did—and (presumably to his neighbor’s chagrin) has recently taken up playing the mandolin.




Stronger, Faster, Smarter: A Guide to Your Most Powerful Body, by Ryan Ferguson

Ryan Ferguson, the author of this fitness guide, spent ten years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. The titular line comes from something his father told him—after first realizing that the nightmare of his imprisonment might be his new normal:  “Son, do whatever you can to get stronger, faster, and smarter.  This is now your number one priority.” Aside from the inspirational story behind the Ferguson’s physical transformation while behind bars—and, ultimately, his acquittal—this book contains a fitness program emphasizing a need of resolve and inner strength over the need of fancy exercise equipment. Most of the exercises highlighted in this book are simple and can be done in a 6’ x 8’ cage if need be (and we hope our readers never find themselves in a situation where that need arises).


getting things done

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen

This perennial bestseller in the “productivity” category is a favorite among many of the staffers here at Tarcher. David Allen is a mastermind of organization and anti-procrastination tips, and his no-nonsense approach is brilliant for simplifying the daunting pile of tasks many of us face during our workdays. Also, there will be a revised 2015 edition of this classic coming out in March! Tarcher is proud to have partnered with the Penguin imprint on theGetting Things Done Productivity Cards in 2013, which distilled the wisdom in this book down to bite-sized portions in a colorful and beautifully-designed deck of cards.




Reiki for Life: The Complete Guide to Reiki Practice for Levels 1, 2, & 3, by Penelope Quest

Chances are you’ve heard about Reiki in the last few years, as centers are beginning to pop up all around the country and compliment other ancient techniques such as T’ai Chi and acupuncture. This handbook is all anyone interested in Reiki needs to begin practicing this potent and increasingly popular healing technique. Readers will learn how Reiki works, how to perform Reiki on themselves and others, instructions on how to become a Reiki Master, and much more.





What the Fork Are You Eating? An Action Plan for Your Pantry and Plate, by Stefanie Sacks MS, CNS, CDN

American culture seems increasingly obsessed with labels like “natural,” “grass-fed,” “free-roaming,” and “organic”—but author, certified chef, and nutritionist Stefanie Sacks argues that these labels may be misleading and arms consumers with the knowledge they need to make informed decisions for themselves and their families. But the proof is in the pudding, as they say, so this book would be incomplete without the included fifty original recipes that readers can try at home (although I don’t think there are any pudding recipes—sorry for any confusion).




Less Doing, More Living: Make Everything in Life Easier by Ari Meisel

In this handy and compact tome, TEDx speaker, triathlete, and productivity consultant Ari Meisel transforms his “Less Doing” lifestyle into actionable steps that readers can easily apply to their lives. Ari’s 21st century philosophy puts the internet and technology to work on behalf of the reader—using apps and tools to automate and outsource daily activities like e-mail, keeping track of new ideas, and remembering meetings—creating an “external brain” and freeing up the reader’s time and mind to focus only on important tasks. But this philosophy isn’t just about business and work life. Meisel tackles the trifecta of wellness—fitness, sleep, and nutrition— and instructs the reader on how to get more out of life, all while doing less. This book is a true gem in productivity improvement, and I personally use strategies I learned from working on this book in my daily life.


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Roshe Anderson works in Gotham and Avery Books. When she is not preparing recipe to-do lists from the cookbooks, she can be found reading other health and self-improvement books as well as fiction. She also enjoys exploring health-related topics on her blog.






The 52 New Foods Challenge, by Jennifer Tyler Lee

I love the simplicity of the recipes. Because the challenge encompasses taking on one new food a week, the recipes also cover a wide variety of whole foods. Whether or not you attempt to prepare all fifty-two foods, you will find the book to be a gentle guide, helping you take small steps toward what is often intimidating: trying something new. I have a list of recipes from the book which I am eager to make for the first time, including a simple butternut squash soup, pumpkin puree, and Jennifer’s version of an avocado-based chocolate pudding.



Simple Recipes for Joy, by Sharon Gannon

Imagine a summer salad with real flowers…The gorgeousness of the cover and the dishes within Simple Recipes is undeniable. Thus, food intertwined with Sharon’s philosophy of compassion make a strong impression. The passionate foreword written by Kris Carr, a well-known natural food advocate, adds an extra wow factor to what already feels like a work of art. For people who have been to Sharon’s restaurant, the Jivamuktea Cafe, this cookbook will feel like being let into a secret. The spirulina millet and “Spaghetti All’aglio e Olio” are among my favorite recipes. I love forward to making the “Brown Rice Salad” soon.



365 Vegan Smoothies, by Kathy Patalsky

365 is a non-prescriptive road map, helping you to enjoy the fun and creativity involved in making smoothies. All of the ingredients the author suggests are available at your local market. Kathy also offers advice on how to substitute one ingredient for another, further encouraging you to use what you have on-hand or experiment. The book is perfect for people like me, who would prefer that their nutrient-dense smoothies taste like cinnamon buns or decadent desserts.





The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon

Two words: overnight oats. I am addicted to the opening recipe which features uncooked oats soaked in plant-based milk. All of the dishes displayed in the book are stunning! Angela’s reputation as well as her commitment to reworking recipes and seeking approval from non-vegans reassures you that you are in good hands. Creative, smart snacks like “Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas” and vegan remakes of popular dishes like cookie dough make eating healthfully look really cool.





Success Through Stillness, by Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons explains the effects of stress in clear language, elucidating the connection between stress and brain chemistry. Russell’s goal to dispel the myth that one is simply not good at meditation struck a chord with me. The book offers real tools for persisting in the practice of meditation. Also, I loved Russell’s description of being focused on the process and the work rather than the success or the failure.





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b head photo

Brianna is the Executive Director of Publicity and Marketing for the Tarcher and Perigee imprints. She enjoys books that teach you something just as much as ones that entertain (science, pop psychology, “big think” books, romance, sci/fi-fantasy, food/cocktail books, coloring books—the gamut). She also loves good food, craft cocktails and shih-tzu puppies.






powerThe Power of Kindness, by Piero Ferrucci

When I was first applying for a job at Tarcher/Penguin six years ago, I picked up THE POWER OF KINDNESS, hoping to get a better sense of the type of book the imprint published. I knew it had been pretty successful for Tarcher, and though it wasn’t the type of book I would normally read (fiction, science or pop psychology), I figured I would give it a try. And I was blown away. Ferrucci packed so much wisdom into the simplest sentences, and he tells compelling stories and vignettes from people’s lives to illustrate his points. I found myself underlining passages and recommending the book to numerous friends. It didn’t surprise me to hear that the book sold nearly 100K copies almost entirely via word-of-mouth. No doubt, the world can use more kindness; people need to be kinder both to themselves and to others. In the new year, Ferrucci’s book is a fantastic place to start.



Stronger, Faster, Smarter, by Ryan Ferguson

I’m not into fitness gurus, but I’ve been working with Ryan Ferguson on this book, and I really like its no-nonsense approach. Ryan himself has an incredible story. He was sentenced to 40 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He struggled for 10 years for his sentence to be overturned—which happened last year. While in prison, he honed his body and mind, knowing that he had to become his strongest, best self in order to survive. In this book, he weaves his lessons from prison together with the exercises and dietary practices that helped get him into peak condition. The book has helped me cut out a lot of the noise (things that I’ve read online about fitness and/or heard on the radio) and just focus on the essentials. That alone has made it one of the most useful books I’ve read so far this year!


energies of loveThe Energies of Love, by Donna Eden & David Feinstein

I was as skeptical as any New  Yorker would be when I first heard about ENERGY MEDICINE, Donna Eden’s bestselling book sharing energy medicine techniques. But then I saw Donna in action. Call her what you will – an intuitive, a magician or a healer (I prefer the latter) – but she can energy test a person and know what’s ailing them. And, even better, she can often give them tools that will help fix the problem. She’s also just full of positive energy and joy. With ENERGIES OF LOVE, she and her husband offer couples a new way of understanding each other – as well as energy medicine techniques to help them get on the same page. I recommend it to anyone who has a significant other.


whattheforkWhat the Fork Are You Eating?, By Stefanie Sacks

I’ve often wondered what “natural” really means on a food label – and whether this is regulated. And how “cage-free” differs from “organic.” I’m not a health food nut. In fact, I joke that with all the preservatives I’ve consumed over the years, I should be on this Earth for quite a while. However, the complexities of the food industry fascinate me – as does Sacks’ book. She’s a culinary nutritionist as well as a trained chef (and I’m a foodie), so I was drawn both to the book’s recipes (yum!) and simple “better for you” recommendations. I may ignore all of this advice during the holidays, but it’ll be my New Year’s resolution to refer back to it in January.




The Myth of Happiness, by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Ever wonder why so many relationships fall apart after two years? Or why the things you thought should make you happy (more money, a promotion, etc.) don’t have staying power to keep you happy? Sonja’s book illuminates the way the mind works – and how our mindset (and our often black-and-white vision of happiness) hinders us. It’s a fascinating book, one that will have you contemplating some off-the-wall ideas – such as sky-diving with your partner or taking Tango lessons together – to keep that happy spark alive.




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I was even happier after I tasted it

Brooke Carey is an Editor at Gotham where she specializes in self-help, personal development, pop culture, and other non-fiction. She currently resides in Astoria, Queens but grew up in Nashville where she developed a deep, unyielding love for sad country songs and fried green tomatoes.






168 Hours: You Have More Time than You Think by Laura Vanderkam

I edited this book when I was still new to my career and had no clue how to manage my time. In fact, I had succumbed to the notion that time managed me. Laura changed all of that. This is not a book about how to make a to-do list or filter your inbox. Laura argues that, while we all say we “don’t have enough time,” we have exactly the same amount of hours—168 in a week—as anyone else. So how do some people manage to work full time, raise a family, run marathons and take up pottery while the rest of us feel like we’re constantly playing catch up? According to Laura, the first step to making the most of our hours is to look at exactly how we spend them. When we do, we realize that we waste a lot of time doing things that don’t improve our lives and are then empowered to focus on what really matters. If you don’t want to read a 270+ page book because, well, you’re pressed for time, I suggest Laura’s especial What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast.


howtoHow to Be Richer, Smarter and Better Looking than Your Parents by Zac Bissonnette

This is another book I worked on, so perhaps I’m a little biased, but I truly believe every twenty-something should read it. It’s a guide for young people—those who are financially independent for the first time—on how to create financial habits that will set them on the path to lifelong prosperity. This is not a book about how to make a million dollars overnight, nor is it full of complicated investment advice. Zac argues that if you commit to good money habits—saving for retirement, paying off debt—while you’re young, you’ll set yourself on the path to lifelong prosperity. He also unpacks what wealth really means—that the people who have the biggest homes and fanciest cars are often up to their eyeballs in debt—and that real wealth is about security and not having to worry about money because you’ve been smart about it your whole life. But Zac isn’t preachy. He fills the book with references to pop culture and uses Teresa Giudice and Lenny Dykstra, among others, as cautionary tales. After editing this book, I immediately upped my contribution to my 401(k).


#GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

As soon as you look at Sophia, you want to be her. She’s gorgeous, poised, and hella cool. And then you learn that she built her $100-million-dollar online clothing retailer, Nasty Gal, from scratch without a college education all before the age of 30, and your head explodes. She is, in short, an inspiration, but a sassy one. #GIRLBOSS is about being awesome and not apologizing for it. It’s about finding success on your own terms, even if you’re unconventional, awkward, or have stumbled along the way (Sophia, for example, spent a good chunk of her early adulthood dumpster diving and shoplifting to get by). The book became an instant classic when it was published earlier this year, and it’s no wonder. Sophia is Jackie O meets Jack Welch. What’s not to love?



I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I’ve Dated by Julie Klausner

On its face, this is a book of dating stories, but it’s so much more than that. I wish I’d had this book when I was 22 and first moved to NYC because I could have saved myself some of the drama—and trauma—that defined my dating life for the better part of a decade. Reading Klausner’s hilarious and horrifying tales of the man-children she’s encountered in her quest for true—or just functional—love is like listening to your bawdy best friend counsel and commiserate with you on what you should and should not tolerate from men (or women, or anyone, really). Read it with a bottle of wine.



Julia Child: A Life by Laura Shapiro

Not a self-help book per se, but everyone can take a lesson from Julia Child. She was not only wildly successful but extraordinarily kind, level-headed, and full of joie de vivre. Plus, she and her husband, Paul, were deeply in love. This book made me smile, literally. I was so delighted while reading it that I couldn’t help myself. If more people lived like Julia, we’d be happier, healthier, and definitely better fed.





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Sara Carder is Editorial Director at Tarcher / Penguin Random House where she has the great pleasure of working on books that help people lead happier, healthier lives.





The Power of Meditation, by Edward Viljoen

I heard Edward Viljoen speak recently and was so moved by his talk that I was eager to hear more from him. Once I found a moment to dig into his book The Power of Meditation, I was not disappointed. Edward has the ability to talk about things that are really quite serious (such as, well, sort of a biggie, how to be more at peace in your life!) with such a light touch that the wisdom of what he’s saying creeps up on you like the punch line of a great joke. In The Power of Meditation he takes what can be a very intimidating topic for some –meditation– and makes it so wonderfully accessible. If you are one of those people, like me, who is convinced that you could never “learn” how to meditate, read Edward’s book. The how and why of meditation are beautifully explained in The Power of Meditation. I have decided to give it another go.


Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, by Michael Pollan

As a self-help editor I experience no shortage of advice in my life. How can I be a better parent? How can I find a better live/work balance? Or – a biggie – what should I eat? I love this slim little book that tells you all you need to know really about eating healthily. After I read it, I decided I never needed to read anything else on the topic. I was also very happy because I wouldn’t have to deprive myself of delicious food. The rules for eating in this book are truly rules to live by.





Fail Fast, Fail Often: How Losing Can Help You Win, by Ryan Babineaux, Ph.D., and John Krumboltz, Ph.D.

Full disclosure #1: this is a book I acquired and edited for Tarcher. Full disclosure #2: when it came to me on submission from a literary agent, I thought “What a great title and I know SOOOO many people who need this book. But I’m not one of them. I know how to fail. I fail all the time and I’m good at it.” Well, I couldn’t have been more wrong. What I learned is that my fear of failure was actually one of the biggest things holding me back in life. Now, after reading this book, when there’s something I feel inspired to do, instead of not doing it because I think I can’t do it well, I tell myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen if this doesn’t work?” And I give it a try.



Attached: The New Science of Adult Attachment and How It Can Help You Find—and Keep—Love, by Amir Levine, M.D., and Rachel S.F. Heller, M.A.

When my son was born I discovered that there were a lot of books out there on “Attachment Parenting.” It’s a pretty good approach to raising kids: form a deep, secure bond with your child and you will set him/her up for a happy life. I devoured these books! Attachment theory as it pertains to the parent/child bond is truly fascinating so when the proposal for this book on how an understanding of Adult Attachment research can help you better relate to your romantic partner, I was eager to read. This fascinating research reveals that, when it comes to romantic love, we are all one of the following types: Anxious, Avoidant, or Secure. And guess what the best type to be is? Secure (of course). This book will show you how to become more calm, contented, and connected in your relationship – whether you’ve found a partner or you’re still looking. This is one of the smartest self-help/psychology books I’ve ever read.


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